Home Web timeline Policy briefing: Liberal MP calls for timeline to end pandemic restrictions

Policy briefing: Liberal MP calls for timeline to end pandemic restrictions

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Hello,

A federal Liberal MP breaks ranks with the government and suggests it shouldn’t dismiss concerns about public health measures or demonize skeptics.

The criticism came from Quebec Liberal MP Joel Lightbound, who told a news conference on Tuesday that he also condemned the trucker protests that are making life miserable for residents of downtown Ottawa.

Lightbound, who previously served as parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, told a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday that his own party had politicized the pandemic and that the government should set out a clear timetable for ending the limitations.

He noted that a number of other countries, including Ireland, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Switzerland, have removed or are currently removing measures such as vaccine passports, leaving Canadians confused about what is happening in this country.

“It’s time to stop divisions and distractions,” he said, adding that the situation had reached a point where it became necessary for him to voice his opinions.

The full story by Parliamentary Reporter Kristy Kirkup and myself is here.

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NEWS OF THE DAY

PROTESTS IN OTTAWA

MAYOR SEEKS NEARLY 2,000 MORE OFFICERS – Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is calling on the federal and provincial governments to send nearly 2,000 more police officers to combat what he describes as widespread lawlessness that local police failed to stem, as a street protest against pandemic restrictions continues to occupy downtown. History here.

MENDICINO ON PROBING MONEY FOR PROTESTS — Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says the federal government has “robust” investigative agencies that are well positioned to probe outside financial contributions of Canada to causes that would compromise the national safety and security of that country. History here.

MAYOR AND MINISTERS MEET – Federal cabinet ministers and the mayor of Ottawa met late Monday to find solutions to end the anti-vaccine protest that has suffocated Canada’s capital for more than a week. History here.

TRUDEAU AT EMERGENCY DEBATE — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lambasted protesters occupying Ottawa on Monday, accusing them of interfering with the country’s ability to function and reminding them that the pandemic has “sucked in” everyone, not just them. History here.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: SENIOR TRUCKER EXECUTIVE – TFI International Inc., Canada’s largest trucking conglomerate, is largely unaffected by the recent vaccination mandate for truckers crossing the Canada-U.S. border, said the head of the company. “Vaccination at TFI is not a problem at all,” Chairman and CEO Alain Bedard said on Tuesday. “We have a few drivers who are still saying no, but what we do with them is we keep them in Canada.” History here.

GLOBE AND MAIL EXPLAINER: Where are the convoy protesters in Ottawa now? A visual guide to the state of emergency. The explanation is here.

DURING THIS TIME

CHAREST SHOULD RUN: CONSERVATIVE MP – Conservative MP Alain Rayes, a former Quebec lieutenant in the party, told Radio-Canada All One Morning that he spoke to former Quebec Premier Jean Charest about running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada and that he considers Mr. Charrest a good candidate. story here.

LEAVE UKRAINE: OTTAWA – Ottawa is telling Canadians to leave Ukraine immediately in anticipation of a Russian invasion. History here.

SEAT OPENS FOR NEW BC LIBERAL LEADER – The new leader of the BC Liberal Party says his predecessor is stepping down from his seat in Vancouver to give him a chance to run for a by-election. History here.

THIS AND THAT

The agenda projected in the House of Commons on February 8 is here.

KHEIRIDDIN COULD SEEK CCP LEADERSHIP – Commentator Tasha Kheiriddin says she could run for the leadership of the federal Conservative Party, noting on Twitter that she was recently encouraged to do so. “I am humbled and honored and feel compelled to take these requests seriously,” she wrote. She indicated that she had held various positions within the Progressive Conservative Party, for ministers such as Barbara MacDougall and Bernard Valcourt. She says the Conservatives need to come up with solutions to Canada’s challenges and inspire Canadians. “I look forward to sharing my decision with you soon.”

SECURITY RISKS TO MPS – On Tuesday, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs met for a briefing on security risks to MPs. It’s a gripping subject considering the times. No details on the meeting, however. It took place behind closed doors. Note here.

THE DECIBEL – As the “Freedom Convoy” protest continues in Ottawa, parliamentary reporter Janice Dickson speaks to The Globe and Mail podcast about the experience of residents of downtown Ottawa and how the government and police in the city have managed the lingering situation. The decibel is there.

TRIBUTE – Former Federal Justice Minister Donald Johnston has died. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pays tribute here. And The Montreal Gazette takes note here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

Private meetings. The Prime Minister chairs the cabinet meeting and attends question period.

LEADERS

Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet holds a press conference on Parliament Hill.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh meets with small business owners and local residents, and participates in Question Period

No other party leader schedules have been released.

OPINION

Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s late show in Ottawa’s long leadership vacuum: The Ottawa protest was not about people – it never drew one of the biggest crowds of protesters in the capital and it dwindled to a small number of people. It was the trucks that made it a blockade and, as Mr. Alghabra noted on Wednesday, the provincial government has powers over road safety and vehicle registration, and can threaten to revoke truckers’ licenses to drive utility vehicles. Yet so far the only effective act of leadership in all of this has come from a private citizen, Ottawa lawyer Paul Champ, who obtained a court injunction Monday afternoon barring convoy truckers from honk.

Andrew Cohen (Globe and Mail contributor) on how the Ottawa occupation is the October Crisis Revisited and Justin Trudeau must be bold:The Freedom Convoy is not the FLQ. Justin Trudeau is not Pierre Trudeau. But again, he can learn from his father the imperative for clarity, authority and principle. At a minimum, Mr. Trudeau needs to be more visible. Even though he has COVID-19, he looked weak while moving to a secret location. If the crowd wants to bark at the doors of Rideau Cottage, let them. Justin doesn’t have to be Pierre, who defied protesters in Montreal’s Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day parade in 1968, refusing to leave the podium under a volley of rocks and bottles while other s were fleeing. He doesn’t have to be “the gunslinger” either – legs spread wide, fingers hooked to the belt, challenging everyone in his path. But Mr. Trudeau must show leadership in the midst of civil authorities as irresponsible as The premier of Quebec, Robert Bourassa, was in 1970. He must be daring.

Giuliano Zaccardelli (Globe and Mail contributor) on how Ottawa Police need to stop walking a tightrope and actively enforce the law: “The trucks, which have been creating physical and auditory havoc in Ottawa for a week, must be moved – if not by their owners, then by heavy machinery or, if necessary, by drivers under contract with the police and protected, too difficult as it may be. . All illegal structures – tents, cabins, fire pits, etc. – must be dismantled. And while the decision to make a less central location available to protesters was a good one (and something I would have done myself), a time limit must now be placed on that use and firmly enforced. The balance must now shift from peacekeeping to active law enforcement. The decision to do so must be authorized and supported by the political, community and government agencies which, under normal circumstances, tend to speak out against such displays of force.

Anna Drake (political options) on how the so-called “freedom convoy” is a symptom of a deeply unequal society: “People who have settled in Ottawa are occupiers. Comparing them to other protesters fails to understand the deep-rooted inequality that underlies both the occupation and many of our institutional responses to it. Indeed, it is institutional failure after institutional failure that we must focus on; we need to hold these structures to account and turn our attention to the people our institutions are failing.

André Pratte (The Montreal Gazette) on the Quebec dilemma that the Conservatives are once again faced with: Because Quebec leans to the center-left on many issues, a so-called “moderate” leader is likely more likely to make gains in the province than a “true blue.” However, whoever wins this leadership race, if the four conditions mentioned above are not met, the Conservatives will continue to win few seats in Quebec. Under such circumstances, as Mulroney noted 39 years ago, their chances of forming a majority government will remain negligible.

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